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Afghanistan: Operation Ark Luton evacuation plane is swapped

2021-9-11 20:47| 发布者: hujian| 查看: 9| 评论: 0

摘要: IMAGE SOURCE,NOWZADimage captionA plane is being sent to evacuate Pen Farthing and his team from KabulA plane expected to fly from Luton Airport to rescue staff and animals from a charity in Afghanist ...
Pen Farthing with a rescue dogIMAGE SOURCE,NOWZAD
image captionA plane is being sent to evacuate Pen Farthing and his team from Kabul

A plane expected to fly from Luton Airport to rescue staff and animals from a charity in Afghanistan has been cancelled amid safety concerns.

The campaign to get Nowzad sanctuary founder Paul "Pen" Farthing, his staff and animals out of Kabul has become known as Operation Ark.

A plane from a country neighbouring Afghanistan will now be used instead.

Two blasts at Kabul airport on Thursday followed a Foreign Office warning about an attack.

Taliban officials said at least 11 people had been killed.

Wildlife campaigner and broadcaster Dominic Dyer, from Milton Keynes, told the BBC the volatile situation in the country meant the mission was "too dangerous" and that the private flight company "could not enter Kabul airspace safely".

"We have an option in place in a neighbouring country to lift Pen, his staff and animals out of Kabul before transferring them to the UK," he added.

But Mr Dyer warned the plane waiting in a neighbouring country could not land in Kabul until Mr Farthing is granted entry into the airport.

He is currently outside awaiting permission.

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There had been criticism about prioritising animals over people, but approval was given for the flight.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Royal Marine veteran Mr Farthing, originally from Essex, founded the Nowzad animal shelter, rescuing dogs, cats and donkeys after serving in Afghanistan in the mid-2000s.

He has said he would not leave the country without his staff or animals.

It is understood Mr Farthing has about 68 staff and 150 cats and dogs as well as other people described as "vulnerable".

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said earlier this week he was not prepared to prioritise animals ahead of people "in real danger".

He then said if the charity's founder got to the airport with his staff and animals, he would seek a slot for the chartered flight.

Mr Wallace has since tweeted to say: "I never said I would not facilitate. I said no-one would get to queue jump.

"As I have said, we will facilitate at all stages but the priority will be people not pets."

Mr Wallace urged people to "let my civil servants and military get on with dealing with one of the most dangerous and challenging evacuations for a generation".

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
Pen Farthing with a rescue dogIMAGE SOURCE,NOWZAD
image captionPen Farthing with a rescue dog

A supporter of Operation Ark has privately funded the plane due to take the charity workers out of the country.

The former Essex Marine pleaded with the Taliban to allow them in, saying his team had been waiting for more than 10 hours.

Addressing Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen on Twitter, Mr Farthing said: "My team & my animals are stuck at airport circle.

"We have a flight waiting. Can you please facilitate safe passage into the airport for our convoy?"

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Mr Dyer described the campaign as involving "probably the most high profile group of Afghan refugees anywhere, now".

He said the group had two trucks and three mini-buses.

Suhail Shaheen
image captionPen Farthing has appealed to Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen to allow the charity workers and animals into the airport

"Now they're on the side of the street trying to keep the dogs and cats from dying of heat exhaustion," Mr Dyer said.

"I don't need to hear from ministers anymore that we have a priority list.

"I don't want to hear this 'we're putting pets before people' - it's nonsense."

He said the animals would be "in the hold and we've got spare capacity in the seating and will take more refugees if we can".

"This is a Dunkirk-spirit privately paid operation to rescue animals and protect people," he added.

"It's touch and go... but we're going to get them out of there."


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